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UFC 194 DraftKings Preview

Photo Courtesy of AP

The biggest UFC fight card this year has finally arrived. Plenty of fights could lead to dramatic changes in the MMA landscape. Pound-for-pound king Jose Aldo faces the UFC’s next biggest growing superstar Conor McGregor for the featherweight title. In the co-main is a classic east coast versus west coast rivalry as New Yorker Chris Weidman defends his middleweight title against Californian Luke Rockhold in what could potentially be one of the most grueling fights of the year.

The UFC and plenty of fighters are going to be raking in the money on the weekend and the DraftKings lineups this week presents plenty of opportunity for players to cash out as well. Here is the UFC 194 DraftKings Preview:



Conor McGregor ($9,900) vs.. Jose Aldo ($9,500)
UFC Featherweight Championship (145 lbs)

The McGregor hype beast is running wild and out of control. The Irishman is a distinct favorite over Aldo with many expecting a knockout finish. McGregor is the bigger and longer fighter with an iron chin, a fight-ending left hand and masterful fight IQ.

Aldo however is faster and more experienced in a title fight. He also has a wrestling skillset to neutralize McGregor. Aldo can earn a lot of points over five rounds or a possible finish but if McGregor wins, it is likely by knockout. McGregor is a high-risk, high-reward play for a quick finish but the likelihood of most other players drafting McGregor won’t give an advantage for the risk. Aldo still has an outside chance for a submission.

Play: Draft McGregor or Aldo

Chris Weidman ($10,000) vs. Luke Rockhold ($9,400)
UFC Middleweight Championship (185 lbs)

This is a fight that has the potential to be a five-round bloodbath featuring the highest level of MMA. Weidman and Rockhold are both strong-willed with alpha male instincts. Weidman has a more classic wrestler-boxer mold, is tough and will look to keep pressuring Rockhold until he breaks.

Rockhold trains at AKA with the likes of Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov and will be ready to deal with Weidman’s wrestling. There’s a good chance of a finish from either but it leans with Rockhold who can end a fight on either feet or ground. He’s also the cheaper fighter, and that never hurts.

Play: Draft Rockhold or Pass

Jacare Souza ($10,200) vs. Yoel Romero ($9,200)
Middleweight Bout (185 lbs)

The fight is finally happening after its third time being rebooked. Jacare is a championship-level grappler who complimented his BJJ with wrestling and newly honed striking. Romero is an Olympic wrestler who is a battering ram. The matchup slightly favors Jacare who has the BJJ edge and is better-rounded but Romero has significant fight-ending power and at a much lower price is worth a budget a play.

Play: Draft Romero or Pass

Demian Maia ($10,100) vs. Gunnar Nelson ($9,300)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)

A clash of world champion BJJ practitioners; usually when two elite grapplers clash, they negate each other and decide to strike on their feet. If this happens, there won’t be much fantasy value as it’s unlikely either fighter knocks the other out. The grappling exchange might favor Maia who will be relentless in pressuring “Gunni” but likely won’t finish.

Play: Pass

Max Holloway ($10,900) vs. Jeremy Stephens ($8,500)
Featherweight Bout (145 lbs)

A fight that can be likened to a fighter jet against a tank. Holloway is quicker, throws at a much faster rate and attacks from all angles. He’ll easily rack up points with the shots he lands but Stephens is the toughest guy in the division who can end a fight with one blow. Holloway will likely pick Stephens apart to a decision but there’s always a slight chance Stephens catches him.

Play: Draft Stephens or Pass


Urijah Faber ($11,000) vs. Frankie Saenz ($8,400)
Bantamweight Bout (135 lbs)

Faber is coming in as the most expensive fighter for good reason. The former WEC champion has finished 26 of his 32 wins for an 81 percent finishing rate. Saenz is a gritty wrestler on a streak of his own but Faber should have the huge advantage and should finish this fight. However, Faber is starting to hit a decline and Saenz could make it a tougher fight than it looks like on paper.

Play: Pass

Tecia Torres ($10,700) vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger ($8,700)
Strawweight Bout (115 lbs)

Torres gets a last-minute replacement opponent in Jones-Lybarger who is a really tough out and is also a pressure fighter like her. Torres has the wrestling and grappling edge and is tough and strong. She’s the likely winner given the short training camp for Jones-Lybarger, but it’s likely a tough fought decision without much fantasy value.

Play: Pass

Colby Covington ($9,800) vs. Warlley Alves ($9,600)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)

Arguably the tightest matchup of the evening; both Covington and Alves are highly rated, unbeaten prospects. Covington is an NCAA Division I wrestler who once ran with Jon Jones while Alves is an X-gym product with fighters like Erick Silva and “Jacare.” If Covington wins, it will likely be due to mixing up his technique and getting a decision but Alves has a higher chance to finish. This fight is close, but if you’re rolling the dice choose the fighter who will finish.

Play: Draft Alves or Pass

Kevin Lee ($10,800) vs. Leonardo Santos ($8,600)
Strawweight (115 lbs)

Lee is the superior fighter all around. This his fight to lose. The “Motown Phenom” has BJJ, wrestling and sheer athleticism on Santos who is a BJJ world champion. Lee will win this contest handily but a finish may not be likely as Santos has proven to be quite tough and won’t get submitted on the ground.

Play: Draft Lee or Pass


Magomed Mustafaev ($10,600) vs. Joe Proctor ($8,800)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

A showcase fight for Mustafaev who is a powerful Dagestani wrestle-boxer who will overpower Proctor early and likely finish him. Proctor has a lot of heart and toughness and has a well-rounded skillset so he should never be underestimated but Mustafaev is just a stronger beast.

Play: Draft Mustafaev

John Makdessi ($10,300) vs. Yancy Medeiros ($9,100)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

Makdessi and Medeiros are both entertaining fighters with decent chances of finishing the other. Makdessi is a calculated striker who has power but can get a bit tentative and is coming back from a brutal jaw injury. Medeiros’s striking isn’t as polished but he can also end the fight on the ground. Medeiros is a high risk high reward type of a fighter worth a gamble at a low price.

Play: Draft Medeiros or Pass

Court McGee ($10,400) vs. Marcio Alexandre Jr. ($9,000)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)

McGee is returning from a two-year layoff and it’s hard to gauge where his form is at. But even at his peak, McGee never showed much finishing ability. Alexandre Jr. nicknamed “Lyoto” for his elusive karate style also will likely go to a decision. McGee’s all-around skillset should still benefit him overall but there’s not much fantasy value in this fight.

Play: Pass

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